"This is crazy," Marie said for the fourth time. From her seat in front of the steering wheel of the family's old station wagon, Mom gave her a side glance and an encouraging smile. The dense woods that surrounded the road flashed by the windows in a green blur as the afternoon sun streamed through the back window and cast the car's long shadow on the road ahead of them. Marie wrung her sweaty hands, biting her lip in nervous anticipation. "This is completely crazy," she whispered.
For the past two months Marie had been practicing an audition for the school's spring play, "Little Women." She had spent hours memorizing the lines to a monologue, and perfecting it so that she could act in the most realistic and persuasive way she could today. She knew it all like the back of her hand. But that didn't stop her stomach from turning flip-flops like a crazed acrobat, or the slight shake of her body, or that frightened, worried feeling that had been growing inside of her all day long.
* * *
Mom parked the car in the lot in front of the school and gave her a wink for good luck. Marie pushed her door open and stepped out into the cool, fresh air, her legs feeling weak. She eyed the building, knowing that inside of it was a line of other students waiting to be called into the theater. That line of students was her competition. Marie took a deep breath. "I'm going to do this," she said quietly to herself. "If it kills me, I'm going to do this. There is no way that I'm going to turn back now and give up—I'd never forgive myself." She headed toward the school.
* * *
It was getting up on stage that was hard. Once Marie was on the shiny wooden surface, raised a good five feet or so above the rest of the floor, with four teachers seated at a table in the back with their eyes glued on her, she couldn't not start. They were watching her, and she knew what she had to do, so she started her monologue. And once she began, the rest followed.
She didn't lose her voice, or forget her lines, or even stumble over them much. Her voice might have been a little shaky at first, but the more she spoke the steadier and more definite it became. Soon, the teachers vanished from her mind, and she became her character, and was no longer Marie, no longer in the school, and no longer nervous, at least, not very much.
And then she had finished. Another student was entering. It was time for her to leave.
* * *
The relief that came upon her, now that she had done it, and it was over, and everything was out of her hands, was greater than Marie ever thought it was going to be. Now all she had to do was wait. And whether she got a large part, or a small part, or no part at all, she had tried. She had done her best, putting all that she possibly could into it. And, for now, that was enough.